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Don Jacobs
Don Jacobs
Contributor •

Why you should care about recorded statements

2 comments

Time and time again people get involved in accidents and look to the other driver’s carrier to repair their damage and provide a rental car. Often the insurance company won’t agree with the body shop on the cost of repairs. Pressure is put upon the repair shop to do them for less. Used or after market parts end up being installed, often unbeknownst to the consumer. If an injury is involved, many insurance companies have policies requiring their investigators take recorded statements from the injured driver within 48 hours of the collision. Although there is no requirement under the law you give the other driver’s insurance company a recording of your voice, insurance adjustors imply it is routine and required in order to adjust the claim. If you refuse, they can apply pressure. All of a sudden they don’t seem to want to provide a rental or approve the repairs. They claim you have a duty to cooperate and your refusal hinders their ability to investigate the claim. They tell you that without your cooperation they can’t finish their investigation and can’t make a decision as to who caused the accident. The fact fault for the accident is crystal clear, such as in most read end collisions, doesn’t seem to matter. You of course, need to get to work, attend school or complete errands for your family. You need transportation. If your policy doesn’t provide rental coverage you find yourself between a rock and a hard spot. And they are good at applying pressure. Some drivers have tried for a fair exchange of information. They suggest asking their insured driver to provide a recorded statement to them or their attorney in exchange for allowing an insurance adjustor to tape their voice. If there really is some dispute over who caused the collision both sides should have access to the available information. This reasonable accommodation is almost never received positively. They would much prefer the gathering of information be a one way street. Their goal with a recorded statement is not to just gather the facts. They often become tools they can use to deny or belittle a claim. They usually respond with comments like “you are the one making an claim, not us”. Funny, they never seem to acknowledge you didn’t exactly ask to be making a claim; their insured ran into you and caused an injury. So what can you do if confronted with this problem? There is no easy answer. Retaining an attorney usually helps. Somehow when an attorney gets on board the insurance company all of a sudden seems to be willing to provide a rental. But retaining an attorney takes time. You need transportation now. Some attorneys suggest providing a recorded statement but refusing to answer any questions about medical issues. Others advise doing whatever you can to refuse and use public transportation. All seem to agree that if you decide to let them record your voice, make sure you record the conversation as well. Asking them to provide a copy of the tape is often a lost cause.

2 Comments

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  1. Mike Bryant says:
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    It’s a tough and scary time for people after a collision, very good advice.

  2. Michael says:
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    I am having a similar problem to what was described above in this blog post.

    I was in an accident with a driver that ran a red light. They didn’t want to involve insurance companies and said that they would pay for the damage to my car; the accident was clearly their fault. They have already provided me with a rental car AND my car has already been fixed by a shop.

    However, now that the repairs are completed, I find out that they don’t seem to have the $6500 for the damage. So they decided to file an insurance claim with their insurance company.

    Moments ago I received a call from their insurance company asking me for a recorded statement about the accident.

    The lady on the phone asked if I had an attorney and said that she couldn’t talk directly to me if I had one; I don’t have one (yet).

    I told her that I needed to talk to someone and get some advice before I made any recordings. I got her direct phone number and said I would call her back.

    So, what should I do?

    The people who hit me have said all along that they would pay for repairs and the rental car. I’ve had the rental for 3 weeks now and it’s rented with their company credit card.

    They even talked with the shop that fixed my car frequently to keep in touch and see how things were progressing. They knew all along how much things would cost.

    Now their insurance company is involved because they don’t want to pay out of pocket.

    What do I need to do so I can get my car back. It’s just sitting at the car shop, fully repaired, and is ready to go home.

    HELP,

    Michael